Call for Papers MoBE 2017 Microbiome Special Issue

Call for Papers: MoBE 2017 Special Issue of BioMed Central’s Microbiome Journal  (Submission Guidelines)

We invite submissions of MoBE papers highlighting recent research and emerging hot topics along the theme of “MoBE Research to Applications” for our peer-reviewed MoBE special issue.

Publishing charges are sponsored by the MoBE meeting and BioMed Central’s Microbiome Journal. This special issue will be available by October 1st, 2017.

Please share this announcement among your MoBE colleagues !! 

Timeline:

March 1: paper topic submission (2-3 sentence outline).

These can be submitted via the MoBE 2017 contact form.

June 1:        full paper submission deadline

July 30:      reviews complete, notice to submitters

August 30: revisions due to BioMed Central’s Microbiome Journal

Multiple Positions Open at University of Oregon BioBE Center

Kevin Van Den Wymelenberg and Jessica Green, of the Biology and the Built Environment Center (BioBE), are currently seeking a microbial ecology Research Associate / Research Assistant Professor / Research Associate Professor (non-tenure track faculty) to investigate fundamental questions surrounding the role of microorganisms (bacteria, archaea, fungi, protists, and viruses) in the built environment and in relation to human health outcomes. Applicants must have a Ph.D. in biology, bioinformatics, or a related discipline.

The ideal candidate will have a combination of domain expertise and leadership potential. With regards to domain expertise, candidates should possess a demonstrated ability to generate and interpret microbiome data. Deep knowledge in data analytics, bioinformatics, and/or clinical microbiology is highly desirable. From a leadership perspective, we are seeking candidates that: are comfortable working on multiple concurrent projects with interdisciplinary scientists comprising a diverse range of experience (undergraduate through postdoc); have demonstrated a record of scientific writing and scholarly productivity; have a record of, or evidence of potential for, obtaining external research funding.

The successful candidate will have the ability to work with faculty, students, and industry partners from a variety of diverse backgrounds and the opportunity to creatively and independently engage in research at the BioBE Center (http://biobe.uoregon.edu/), funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, federal agencies, and members of industry.

The BioBE Center is training a new generation of innovators to study the built environment microbiome, including the diversity of microorganisms interacting with each other and with the indoor environment. The vision of this national research center is to understand buildings and urban environments as complex systems and to explore how urban, architectural, and building system (passive and active) design work to shape the microbiome, with the ultimate goal of designing healthy and sustainable buildings and cities.

For more information or to apply, see the full job post.

Evaluating the impacts of synthetic and natural indoor surface finishes on the microbiome

The Sloan Foundation gave me one more thing to be grateful for this Thanksgiving: a grant to evaluate the impacts of different surface finishes on the indoor microbiome. My previous work identified a relationship between antimicrobial chemicals and antibiotic resistance genes in dust.  This new project will build upon these results using an experimental system to evaluate if exposure to antimicrobial surfaces increases antibiotic resistance in indoor microbes.

Schematic of the experimental design. A mixed bacterial culture enriched from indoor dust will be used to inoculate small coupons prepared with different surface finishes. The effect of the surface finish on the viability and antibiotic resistance of the initial bacterial community will be assessed by counting colonies on agar plates and agar plates supplemented with antibiotic, respectively.
Schematic of the experimental design. A mixed bacterial culture enriched from indoor dust will be used to inoculate small coupons prepared with different surface finishes. The effect of the surface finish on the viability and antibiotic resistance of the initial bacterial community will be assessed by counting colonies on agar plates and agar plates supplemented with antibiotic, respectively.

This project will address the question: does the presence of synthetic or natural antimicrobials in surface finishes select for viable antibiotic-resistant microbes in the built environment? To answer this question, we will use bacterial cultures enriched from indoor dust and expose them to various surface finishes, including synthetic antimicrobial paint and natural clay paint with no added antimicrobial agent.

Paints often contain antimicrobial chemicals to extend their shelf life and prevent degradation, preserving the appearance of the paint once it has been applied. Many different antimicrobials, including the much-maligned triclosan, as well as newer ingredients like nano materials, or alkyl dimethyl benzyl quaternary ammonium chloride (aka “quat”). The long-term impacts of using such chemicals in the built environment on the development and spread of antibiotic resistance in the indoor microbiome is currently unknown.

The results of this work will help us understand how antibiotic resistance develops and spreads in the built environment. Ultimately, this work will enable consumers and manufacturers to make informed decisions about which materials to use in the built environment to promote desired microbial outcomes.

If you’re interested in this project or want to work on something similar, please get in touch with the Hartmann lab!

Assessing biochemical activity and metagenomic codes to a “T”

We’re recruiting a student/postdoc for this project! If it sounds interesting, please contact the Huttenhower Lab!

We were happy to hear that we’ve been funded by the Sloan Foundation to continue our study of microbes on the Boston subway. Our original study involved 1) identifying which microbes were resident in this built environment, 2) understanding their functional potential, and 3) quantifying gene families of interest, including antibiotic resistance and virulence factors. In brief, we found that it’s not so bad – even (and perhaps especially) on a crowded subway, you’re surrounded mainly by harmless microbes largely from human skin.

However, this still leaves many open questions in terms of public health. Although we now know what microbes are present, the built-environment is chemically unique, and we have yet to characterize which microbes are biochemically active, persistent, or dead. Metagenomic surveys reveal which metabolic pathways are present, but this may include DNA from inactive cells. It also does not identify which pathways are transcriptionally active, driving the cells that do persist in the built environment. Finally, since we collected all train samples at one time point and all touchscreen samples at another time point, we have limited knowledge on how stable different locations’ microbial activities are over time.

Project OverviewTo determine which microbes are active, we will use a combination of ‘omics approaches on newly collected samples that include metagenomics, metatranscriptomics, and metabolomics. From this, we can identify live bacteria (DNA) based on those that are transcriptionally active (RNA). We can further determine which metabolites are being produced by 1) associating taxonomic profiles with metabolites, 2) identifying genes within taxa that correspond to these metabolic pathways, and 3) confirming pathway activation through transcriptomic data. Cases in which interacting genes, transcripts, and metabolites covary (or are co-absent) provide “guilt-by-association” evidence of new functional annotations, novel biochemical pathways, or metabolite contributions from non-microbial sources.

To construct microbial signatures for different built environments, we will use the hitting set algorithm generated by Eric Franzosa, a research associate in the lab. This was developed to identify human hosts by their persistent microbial strain combinations, and in this study, we will test how these “codes” may identify individual built-environments as well. In brief, we will determine sets of features (taxa, genes, functions) that are unique to train lines and stations. We can then evaluate how stable these microbial codes are between our previous and new collections. Together, these features may provide a strategy for characterizing recently-visited environments using microbes newly acquired by an individual.

Generally, it is believed that microbes in the built environment originate from their human inhabitants and surrounding environments. This was the case in our last study, e.g. contrasting the presence of environmental taxa on indoor versus outdoor touchscreens, the prevalence of skin microbes on trains, and the presence of vaginal microbes on seats but not seatbacks. In terms of macroecology, urbanization frequently reduces biodiversity,1 though there are select animals such as pigeons and sparrows that thrive in (or more typically near) the built environment.2 Analogously, there may also be specific microbes that thrive and contribute to the built environment, which will be increasingly important to understand as more people move to cities. Overall, this study will help identify these microbes and the mechanisms they use to survive, as well as determine how stably they inhabit built environments across time.

Footnotes

1. Sol, D., Lapiedra, O., Gonzalez-Lagos, C. (2013). Behavioural adjustments for a life in the city. Animal Behaviour, 85, 1101-1112. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.anbehav.2013.01.023
2. Kark, S., Iwaniuk, A., Schalimtzek, A. and Banker, E. (2007), Living in the city: can anyone become an ‘urban exploiter’?. Journal of Biogeography, 34: 638–651. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2699.2006.01638.x

Dual postdoctoral fellowship opportunity to study the microbiology of the #ISS

Public Domain image

This is so awesome. The Sloan Program in Microbiology of the Built Environment is offering a pair of postdoc fellowships to work on the microbiology of the International Space Station. Summary of the call is below, the compete information packet can be downloaded here.  And if that’s not cool enough, the next blog post is going to be about some parallel opportunities from NASA.  Great time to be thinking about space microbiology!

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation announces a funding opportunity in its Microbiology of the Built Environment (MoBE) program, the Sloan ISS MoBE Postdoctoral Fellowship―Research Opportunities for Post-Doctoral Fellowships in Space Biology to Study the Microbiome of the ISS as a Built Environment: Using ISS as a Microbiological Observatory.

Deadline for Required Notice of Intent: October 31, 2016
Proposals due: November 30, 2016, 11:59 Eastern Time
Estimated Selection Announcement: On or about March 1, 2017

This solicitation invites proposals for Sloan ISS MoBE Postdoctoral Fellowships from potential postdoctoral fellows to conduct studies to characterize microbial populations isolated from the International Space Station (ISS). Selected studies will provide insights into how microbes and microbial populations adapt to spaceflight. Proposed experiments will use microbial isolates collected from the ISS that have been archived at the Johnson Space Center. Studies must advance the goals of NASA’s Space Biology program and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. NASA and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation (hereafter “Sloan”) have a shared and synergistic interest in promoting microbiology research that that will enhance scientific understanding of the Microbiology of the Built Environment (MoBE). NASA and Sloan have entered into a Space Act Agreement to facilitate this work.

The goal of the Sloan MoBE program is to grow a new field of scientific inquiry in the complex microbial ecosystems found in human built and occupied environments. The Sloan program objectives are described at http://www.sloan.org/major-program-areas/basic-research/mobe/?L=0.
The goal of NASA in this area is to build a better understanding of the effects of spaceflight on microbial ecosystems in spacecraft such as the ISS to prepare for future exploration missions far from earth. NASA-sponsored research in this area is guided by recommendations of the National Research Council (NRC) which in 2011 published research priorities for the next decade in “Recapturing a Future for Space Exploration: Life and Physical Sciences Research for a New Era” (hereafter “Decadal Survey”) at http://www.nap.edu/catalog/13048.html. The Decadal Survey recommended that NASA “establish a microbial observatory program on ISS to conduct long-term multi-generational studies of microbial population dynamics.
Sloan anticipates awarding two grants. The Sloan ISS MoBE Postdoctoral Fellowship program provides a $140,000 award, payable in two $70,000 installments. Funds are normally expended over a period of two years after the appointment of the fellow. Charges associated with indirect costs or institutional overhead are not allowed. The stipend support for the fellow should be at least $54,000 of the total annual award amount (stipends may be supplemented from institutional or other sources). $6,000 is provided as a stipend to the fellow for travel or research expenses. Fringe benefits from this award may not exceed $10,000 per year. In the event that institutions/laboratories receiving the Sloan ISS MoBE Postdoctoral Fellowship award have higher rates for fringe benefits, the institution must provide the difference.

Eligibility Requirements Specific to this Solicitation:
Proposals will be accepted from graduate students in their final year of their PhD or equivalent degree program, from postdoctoral fellows (PhD, MD, DDS, DVM or equivalent doctoral degree from an accredited domestic or foreign institution) or from applicants who received a doctoral degree within the past 2 years, but have not yet had postdoctoral training. Applicants must have no more than 4 years of postdoctoral research experience at the time of the initial or the subsequent resubmission or revision application. The program is open to U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or persons with pre-existing visas obtained through their sponsoring institutions that permit postdoctoral training for the project’s duration. Sponsoring institutions must be U.S. academic, government, or commercial institutions that will provide appropriate mentors. Additional information on the Sloan ISS MoBE Postdoctoral Fellowship program as well as detailed instructions for proposal submission are included at the end of this Solicitation.

Sincerely,
Paula J. Olsiewski, Ph.D.

Calling all future MoBE post docs- application deadline Sept 1, 2016

Just wanted to remind everyone that the deadline for postdoctoral fellowship applications through the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation funded Microbiology of the Built Environment (MoBE) program is September 1, 2016. The program provides support for postdoctoral researchers in laboratories currently engaged in research in the U.S. or Canada. Three awards of $120,000 each will be made in 2016. Successful fellows need to have developed an innovative project proposal in consultation with an established advisor.

Here is the link to the RFP:

http://www.sloan.org/fileadmin/media/files/MoBE/2016_MoBE_Postdoc_RFP.pdf

 

Fungi and bacteria grow in carpet at elevated relative humidity

Floor dust is an important source of human exposure to microbes due to dust resuspension, especially from carpeted floors. Sources of microbes in floor dust are known to include outdoor air, tracked-in soil, growth on materials, and shedding from occupants or pets, but we wanted to know if growth may also contribute to these microbial communities.

To answer this question, we conducted a study funded through the Microbiology of the Built Environment Postdoctoral Fellowship Program. We embedded dust into a worn residential, medium-pile, nylon carpet from the same home and incubated the carpet coupons at equilibrium relative humidity (ERH) levels between 50-100%. We measured fungal and bacterial communities using qPCR and DNA sequencing of the 16S/ITS regions.

After one week, we identified fungal growth at ≥80% ERH and bacterial growth only at 100% ERH. At 85% ERH, this fungal growth continued until we ended the experiment after 6 weeks. The moisture content was the limiting factor for growth as C, N, P, and S were in excess of stoichiometric requirements. ERH was the dominant factor driving the microbial communities as determined by principal coordinate analysis (PCA). The predominant fungal genera at elevated ERH were Aspergillus, Penicillium, and Wallemia.

We also constructed a rough model to determine the impact that this growth might have on exposure. At these elevated ERH levels, over half of the airborne fungi could originate from growth in the dust after resuspension from the floor by occupants. However, this model needs to be refined and validated in future studies, and does not currently account for differences in dust resuspension that might occur due to relative humidity.

The relative humidity levels included in this study are higher than those found in most typical homes and the recommended level of 30-50%. These levels would be more likely in a hot, humid climate without the use of air conditioning or under other suboptimal conditions. However, this work demonstrates that moisture in the air may be sufficient to support microbial growth in carpet, and this growth has the potential to contribute to human exposure.

Fungal and bacterial growth after (a, b) 1 week and (c, d) 3-6 weeks.
Fungal and bacterial growth after (a, b) 1 week and (c, d) 3-6 weeks. OD = original dust.

 

Manuscript (open-access): Dannemiller, K. C., Weschler, C. J. and Peccia, J. (2016), Fungal and bacterial growth in floor dust at elevated relative humidity levels. Indoor Air. doi:10.1111/ina.12313 Available at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ina.12313/full

Microbiology of the Built Environment: Day 2

Here’s my report from Day 2 of the Microbiology of the Built Environment Conference in Boulder… the 5th annual and last of its kind!  Storify of the tweets from the day below.

The opening talk on Day 2 was by Martin Taubel from the National Institute for Health and Welfare, Finland, “Of house dust and a crawling baby robot — indoor microbial exposure assessment”.  Coming from a public health perspective one of the main points was “we do not know how to measure exposure to indoor microbes properly”.  He talked largely about a comparison of rural and urban homes where they found (among other things) a lower diversity of bacteria with increasing urbanization.  A lot of the focus was on the problem of repeatability and how to sample dust to best measure human exposure.  The second half of his talk was about a crawling baby robot used to study re-suspension of particles in a controlled chamber.  Crawling on carpets creates a concentrated and localized cloud of particles around the infant that may be problematic.

Kati Huttunen, Department of Environmental and Biological Sciences, University of Eastern Finland, “A tricky task: assessing the toxicity of dust”.  One of her points was that the toxicity of a microbe is very dependent on context; other bugs, substrate, pH, etc.  Makes it very hard to pin down the problems.  To a significant extent her talk was about the various choices in a decision tree regarding experimental design when measuring the toxicity of dust.  I would love to see a flow chart of this entire space, seems like that would be super useful to people doing this kind of work.  I think she very much lived up to the “tricky task” part of her title.

Susan Lynch, University of California at San Francisco, “The gut-airway axis and its potential role in atopy”.  She talked at length about the importance of early life exposure to the latter development of asthma.  The model is that microbial exposure from the environment affects the development of the gut microbiome, which interacts in various ways with the human immune system that leads to disease (asthma) in some cases.   She had very compelling data about which commensal bacteria are missing in kids at risk of asthma and the fact that with decreasing bacterial diversity comes increased fungal richness.  They’re now moving into the intervention space… I’ll be very very curious to see how those trials work out!

Karen Dannemiller, The Ohio State University tag-teaming the next talk with Jordan Peccia from Yale University “The Association of indoor microbial communities on atopic and non-atopic populations”.   The first half of the talk focused on reducing environmental exposures that lead to asthma development.  She showed data that fungal richness in dust was inversely correlated with asthma development, which I thought was the opposite of what Susan Lynch just claimed but am now just confused.   Sounds like we need more data!  Jordan talked about the importance of considering mechanistic approaches, looking at factors such as re-suspension and deposition of microbes in the built environment.

Kerry Kinney and Steven Bourne from University of Texas, Austin “The monitoring of microbiological air quality in public schools — a longitudinal study”.  They described the results of a study of “portable” classrooms (which apparently are rarely removed).  They look in many ways like normal buildings but some differences include open crawl spaces, poor ventilation (though often leaky enough to offset this), poor maintenance.  Open attics are a major concern, positive pressurization has a big impact on microbial communities (pre versus post intervention).

Huan Gu from Syracuse University talked about “Characterization and Control of Biofilms in
the Built Environment”… in particular in hospitals.   Talked about the resistance of biofilms to removal and their persistence in the face of antibiotics.  They have a small chamber to test Pseudomonas biofilm formation and have a bunch of antibiotic resistant strains.   (Full disclosure:  our lab recently sequenced many of these strains).  She finished with a discussion about the importance of the topography of the surface itself, and how we might design surfaces that are resistant to biofilm formation.

Tod Merkel, US Food and Drug Administration, “Assessing functional genes on the
fly: RNA patterns reveal the Pertussis responses to atmospheric environments”.   Telling an interesting story about Pertussis… it’s human-human transmission only; no reservoir, no other host, doesn’t survive on surfaces/water/etc.  Talking about model of transcriptional activation where certain genes are turned on only for survival in respiratory droplets.  Has developed a baboon model for Pertussis transmission.

David Thaler, University of Basel, “Perspectives on indoor Prokaryote — Fungal
associations”.  David talked about the Neolithic Revolution and the major changes in microbiology precipitated therein (agriculture, built structures, cheese, wine, beer, etc.).   Making the analogy that we are entering a second Neolithic-style change where either we adapt to live with microbes or have an antibiotic-resistance disaster.  Hard to summarize this talk, he ranged across a wide variety of fascinating topics including phase variation in tuberculosis, water activity, the importance (or not) of bacterial diversity, autoimmunity, etc.

Bubba Brooks, University of California at Berkeley, Banfield lab, “Longitudinal
studies of developmental microbiomes neonatal intensive care units”.  Talking about the first wave of microbial colonization (usually the mother) and the second wave (normally the home of the infant).  In the case of low-birth weight pre-term infants, the second wave comes from the hospital.  Many strains persist in the NICU, some strains are very good an infecting co-housed infants.  Cleaning and occupancy are the main drivers of NICU bacterial diversity.

Brian Klein from Harvard University, “Microbiomes of Indoor Athletic Facilities”.   Studying indoor running tracks from the premise that athletes are an understudied population that are actually less healthy than average (more respiratory infections, lower immunity).  Gearing up for a large study but doesn’t have the data yet.  (full disclosure, our lab sequenced some strains from this project).

Amy Pruden, Virginia Polytechnic and State University “Microbiome reconnaissance in water infrastructure: Legionella, metagenomics and its co-occurrence with corrosion”.  Talking about premise plumbing, the idea of inoculating drinking water pipes, the variety of water-borne pathogens and more.   Made the interesting point that regulatory framework is not setup for non-fecal inhaled pathogens.   Raising temp of hot water one of the best control methods, but uses more energy and risks scalding. Talked at length about the Flint water crisis and about the resulting Legionella outbreaks as a result in changed water chemistry.   Concluded that our water infrastructure “sucks” and a call to action.

And that wraps up 5 years of these talks!   Storify of the day below.

 

Microbiology of the Built Environment Meeting: Day 1

Here’s the report from Day 1 of the 5th annual Microbiology of the Built Environment meeting in Boulder, CO.  Following my summary of the talks is a Storify of all the tweets from the day.

The first talk of the day was by Ulla Haverinen-Shaughnessy from the University of Eastern Finland whose talk was entitled “IEQ Assessment in Relation to Human Health and Performance Indicators”.  She gave a really interesting and somewhat depressing review of a lot of literature on indoor air quality and the correlation with things such as student performance.  She highlighted the need for common assessment standards to be able to quantify problems such as air quality, mold, and dampness in buildings.

The second talk was “AAAAI Environmental Allergens Workshop” by J. David Miller from Carleton University in Ottawa.  His emphasis was on public policy, public health, and the importance of translation of MoBE research moving forward.  One of the many fascinating things he talked about was the idea that indoor air quality went way down after the energy crises in the 70’s.   People reduced ventilation, increased insulation, reduced energy consumption… and allergy rates soared.  Other factors that may have contributed were the advent of wall-wall carpeting and the switch to paper-based gypsum board.   I heard a lot about carpet at the bar last night, this talk pretty much convinced me that it’s evil.

Next was Charles Robertson from the University of Colorado Children’s Hospital talking about “Perspectives on Genetic Processing Pipelines for Environmental Studies”.  He talked extensively about the need for increased taxonomic resolution, particularly in the clinic.  Doctors want binomial genus species names to be able to make treatment calls based on organism biology.   Rhetorical question of “what are the error bars on taxonomic assignment?”.  He argued against the use of clustering for OTUs and argued for the use of the Silva database.  Much of this is over my head but I know these are controversial topics.

Karen Kalanetra from UC Davis led off the next (tag-team) talk about Environmental Monitoring in Wineries and Dairies.   They collected ~4500 samples from both inputs and surfaces in these facilities and are looking for factors that might influence potential food pathogens.   Highlighting numerous problems with ITS and Unite for fungal identification.  Then Nick Madrid talked about the sensors that his lab developed for long-term continuous monitoring in these facilities.

The premise of the next talk, by Jeff Siegel from the University of Toronto, was nicely phrased as a question in the title of his talk; “Does the building only matter when it gets wet?”.  Starting off talking about the office microbiome and the hospital microbiome studies and saying that very few building science parameters (pH, temp, occupancy, etc) have any correlation with microbial ecology.  Water on the other hand has a huge effect on microbial ecology of the space.  However, it’s hard to measure and the most common measure (relative humidity) probably doesn’t have much relevance to microbes.  They also have a really cool tool for standardizing swab samples… I’m curious if that’s an important source of sampling variation.

After lunch Jessica Green from the BIOBE Center at the University of Oregon talking about “Emerging Perspectives on Exposure Assessments.”  Starting off talking about outreach and education… they’ve done some really cool stuff in radio, print press, and teaching classes.   Then covered a lot of research done at the BIOBE Center (~14 publications worth).   Asking some really interesting questions, for example if the built environment is a reservoir for antibiotic resistance.  Described some of the fun stuff they do with their climate chamber.  Then Kevin Van Den Wymelenberg took over to talk about the architectural aspects of their work, in particular the impacts of daylight.

Noah Fierer from the University of Colorado told us the purpose of his talk was not to talk about the science, but to say what they’ve learned about methods along the way.  Starting with multiple ways to collect dust… do you want qualitative or quantitative?  How much biomass do you need?  Going down a list of considerations; absolute vs. relative abundance?  live or dead? avoid contamination?  Then getting into the bioinformatics… alpha versus beta diversity?  Use source-tracking with caution.

Tag-team talk from the BIMERC Consortium at UC Berkley (Tom Bruns, Yilin Tian, Despoina Lymperopoulou, and Pawel Misztal).  Tom started with a talk from a similar perspective as Noah but focused more on fungi.  Indoor microbes are overwhelmingly immigrants and they have a regional signature.   “Resident” microbes are never dominant.  Despoina talked about microbial inputs to indoor air. Yilin talked about the role of clothing in particle shedding from humans and also asked if clothing added to the florescent particle signals sometimes used to quantity microbes.  Then, switching gear again, Pawel asking questions about microbial volatile organic compounds (mVOC)… seems like very little is known about the microbial contribution to total VOCs?

Sarah Haig from University of Michigan “Linking Opportunistic Respiratory Pathogens to Physical & Chemical Characteristics in Drinking Water Systems”.  Talking about drinking water as a source of opportunistic bacteria.  Using cystic fibrosis as a model to assess infectivity of drinking water.  Extensive and complicated sampling of premise plumbing to hunt down building/water factors that correlate with opportunistic pathogens.  Houses further from the water treatment plant had more opportunistic bugs.  Used PacBio sequencing to get longer amplicons for species-level identification.

Kyle Bibby from the University of Pittsburgh “Drivers of Drinking Water Microbial Ecology: Research and Outlook”.  Similar to Sarah Haig, but really focused on how engineering decisions influence the system.  Also focused mostly on Legionella.  Disinfection processes structure bacterial communities… potentially in a counter-productive manner.  I was happy to see an outreach component to the project as well.

Andy Hoisington from the US Air Force Academy gave the last talk “Microbiology of the Built Environment and Mental Health from an Engineer’s Perspective”.  Introduced the Military and Veteran Microbiome Consortium for Research and Education.  Talked about the challenges associated with mental health work.  Immunoregulation affected by stress which may be part of the puzzle.  Fascinating data about early-life exposure to farm, Amish dust, the development of asthma etc.   Was so interested I stopped taking notes.

 

Twitter chat on “Microbiology of Built Environments” AAM report Thu May 19 10-11 AM EST

There will be a Twitter chat on Thursday of relevance.

Thursday May 19
10-11 AM EST
Run by @ASMicrobiology.
Follow this hashtag #ASMChats

 

More about the report can be found here: FAQ on Microbiology of Built Environments from the American Academy of Microbiology — microBEnet: the microbiology of the Built Environment network.